This is probably the longest writing I’ve put down on paper since graduate school, however I have so much to say and can’t think of any time better than now to put my thoughts down on paper. I’ve been joking with many of my friends that I feel like Jerry McGuire when he wrote his mission statement; as he would eventually call it.
As probably everyone in my life knows (and if you don’t, you’re living under a rock), I’ve dedicated myself to training for the Boston Marathon this year. I might’ve become that annoying person who can’t and won’t stop talking about it, but as you continue reading you’ll see that it’s something I’m very passionate about and for good reason.
I recently learned the story of how the marathon got started. The marathon race was created in 1896 to honor the mythical run of Greek messenger Pheidippides from Marathon to Athens. In 490 BC, the Athenian army defeated the invading Persian army in a battle in the plain of Marathon, which is located roughly 26 miles north of Athens. The Athenians then ordered the messenger to run ahead to Athens and announce the victory to the city. Upon reaching the Athenian agora, he exclaimed “Nike!” (or “we conquer”) and then collapsed dead from exhaustion. After learning about this myth, it occurred to me…the marathon is about a message; so that is why I’ve decided to share mine.
Let’s also take a minute to remember poor Pheidippides…talk about commitment…
It began back in November when the BMC Development Team asked me to run as a team member. I started the BMC Philanthropy Committee a few years ago, and because of this, they thought I’d be a great member of the team to raise money for the hospital. My initial reaction: Absolutely not. I was more than happy to go out and raise money, but wasn’t running 26.2 miles. The most exercise I’ve done recently was getting off the couch to greet the Foodler guy with my delivery. This is no exaggeration. As one of my friends jokingly (yet seriously) pointed out, “there might have been a time in your life when you were athletically inclined, but that time has passed.” In my mind, I agreed with him. There was no way I’d be doing this. Unless playing Candy Crush was part of the training routine, I wouldn’t know how to train, nor would I have the time.
And there you have it. My Boston Marathon story. I believed I couldn’t, so I wouldn’t.
I was recently reminded that this year marks my 15th (yes, 15th) year as a member of the social work team at BMC. I can still vividly remember losing my first patient. A young teenager who’d gotten into a fight that cost their life. I remember the mother’s tears, pain in her eyes, screaming in the waiting room. I remember my own feelings of not sure how to comfort her in this time of absolute heartache and grief. I thought of another patient, in and out of the hospital suffering from addiction. I asked him, “what can I do to help you” and his response has lingered with me always… “You can’t help me, I can’t even help myself. Do you want to know how I learned how to use heroin? When I was 8, I needed to inject my mom just so she would get up to make me breakfast and take me to school”. I think of that young man often and hope he found his way. These patients made me a better social worker and a better person. A person who tries not to judge. A person who realizes everyone is fighting a battle or struggling in some way.
That’s when it hit me. What a hypocrite I’ve been. To work 15 years telling people that they can do anything that they put their mind to, that change is around the corner if you believe it. I’ve spent 15 years believing in others, yet I didn’t believe in me. How did this happen? Where did I get lost along the way? If I don’t believe in myself, I’m the one missing out on life!
And there it begins. The change around the corner. Still not knowing what this meant or what I needed to do…just run, I guess? My dad would always say, “if you are going to do something, do it 100% or don’t do it at all”. I respect those words, and have taken them literally in all aspects of my life...because even when I’ve messed up, I’ve messed up 100%! So here it goes. January 1st would be the first real committed training day.
January 1st I set out to run. The struggle was real! The cold in my face, the pit in my stomach. I didn’t make it very far. Discouraged and feeling hopeless, I walked home. What in God’s name did I commit to do? Why did I say I’d do this? What on Earth made me believe you could possibly do this? The next day I got up, still feeling hopeless, but went out and ran. I started thinking of those that knew I was training for this. Those who laughed with me, those who laughed at me, and those who laughed behind my back. All those people in some way or another were pushing me to run. Here was my initial motivation.
These days I don’t have much free time. Working, training, planning fundraisers. The long runs have given me plenty of time to think. This training is hard work…but is it really? I’m fortunate to have the physical ability to run, financial means to buy what I need to do so, a home and comfortable bed to rest in, friends and family to lean on when I’m emotionally drained. There are so many more difficult struggles in life. When I’m running, I think of those who struggle daily. The depressed person who debates taking their own life, the homeless man on the corner longing for food and a warm place to lay his head, a parent or sibling about to lose a loved one to a disease, those struggling with addiction. Now that’s hard work. And that has become my main motivation.
What started off as an idea that I could be an inspiration has led me to believe that everyone I know and even those I don’t know… That is MY inspiration. SO I run, every step, every foot I put forward and every time I might step back…I will push myself for them. I RUN BECAUSE…OF YOU! I’ve decided to write names on my running gear that I’ll be wearing for the marathon. I want to run for you, for your loved ones, for those who have passed, and for those who may have lost hope and are struggling. If you feel inspired in any way and would like to come along on my journey, send me their name to put on my gear. When I cross that finish line on April 17th, I will exclaim NIKE! Not just for me, but for all of us!
#TeamBMC #WeAreBMC #Determination #Will #Strength #TogetherWeStrive
Thank you for reading, thank you for your love and support!!
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